News and Views on Africa from Africa
Last update: 4 January 2014 h. 17:37
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War and Peace

Burundi

Burundi's transitional National Assembly has elected Jean Minani, of the Front pour la democratie au Burundi (FRODEBU, as its speaker, a senior party official told IRIN on January 10. Minani garnered 115 votes while his rival, Augustin Nzojibwami, received 53. Nzojibwami heads the other FRODEBU faction. "This is the best thing for the moment," Therence Nahimana, an MP representing civil society, told IRIN. "Both [President] Pierre Buyoya and Jean Minani are the leaders of the strongest political wings. They are the ones who have worked hard in the negotiations, and it would only be wise for them to work together on the implementation of the peace agreement," Nahimana added. (Source: IRIN)

Chad

A peace agreement signed on January 7 by Chad's government and the rebel Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad (MDJT) capped three days of negotiations in Tripoli, Libya, Chadian and Libyan state media reported. The agreement provides for an immediate ceasefire, a general amnesty for prisoners held by both sides, and the involvement of the MDJT in the government and other state institutions, according to Libyan television. A tripartite committee comprising representatives of the Chadian and Libyan governments and the MDJT will be responsible for the implementation of the peace deal, which was brokered by Libya. The MDJT, headed by former defence minister Youssouf Togoimi, had launched a rebellion in the Tibesti region of northern Chad in 1998. (Source: Agencies)

Congo-Brazzaville

The European Commission announced that it has donated about US $66,000 for the reintegration of ex-combatants and the collection of weapons in the Republic of Congo in 2002. The funds would be used to reintegrate 8,000 ex-combatants and collect 12,500 firearms by the end of 2002, in the second phase of the programme, the Commission reported on Friday. The areas to be concentrated on would be the regions of Pool, Niari, Lekoumou and Bouenza as well as northern regions. The Commission warned ex-combatants that the programme was neither compensation nor entitlement. Rather, it added, it was a mechanism to protect civil society and for the consolidation of peace. (Source: AFP)

DR Congo

The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, known as MONUC, has opened an investigation into a UN peacekeeper accused of trying to rape a 10 year-old girl in the eastern DRC city of Goma, reported agencies. The incident allegedly occurred on December 26, and involved a soldier of the 232-strong Moroccan contingent stationed in the city. The girl was examined at the Goma General Hospital after her family accused the soldier. Results showed that there was a "probable rape attempt", according to MONUC, and investigations were launched by MONUC and the Rwandan-backed Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD-Goma) armed opposition movement that controls the region. (Source: Agencies)

Guinea Bissau

The UN Security Council issued a statement on January 8 encouraging Guinea-Bissau President Kumba Yala “in his pursuit of the policy of national reconciliation and dialogue taking into account the established constitutional norms". It said Security Council members also encouraged regional and international leaders "to continue playing an active role and redouble their initiatives of good offices for economic and financial assistance". The statement came in response to the Secretary-General Kofi Annan's latest report on Guinea-Bissau in which he said the political situation in the West African country had "remained difficult and volatile" during September-December 2001. (Source: IRIN)

Nigeria

Scores of people were killed in two separate clashes in Nigeria in less than two weeks since the start of the year. The affected areas are Mambilla Plateau in the northeastern state of Taraba and villages in Nasarawa State in the centre of the country. About 40 people were reported to have died in the clashes in Mambilla, between farming and pastoral communities, which started on December 31, while others were said to have fled to neighbouring Cameroon. In Nasarawa, local officials said that at least 100 people were believed to have died in clashes over ownership of a fishing pond. Thousands of people reportedly fled the clashes, while crops, livestock and houses were destroyed. Most of the displaced, particularly women and children, took refuge elsewhere in the state, while others were said to have fled to neighbouring Benue State. (Source: Reuters)

Rwanda

Belgian's final court of appeal, the Cour de Cassation, rejected on January 9 the appeals for a retrial by a Rwandan businessman and two Rwandan nuns sentenced to prison in Brussels on 8 June 2001 for war crimes committed during the 1994 genocide. Lawyers for convicts had appealed claiming irregularities in the original trial. However, the appeal court confirmed the sentence of 20 years imprisonment for Alphonse Higaniro, 52, a former minister and director of a match factory; 15 years for Consolata Mukangango, 42, also known as Sister Gertrude; 12 years for Julienne Mukabutera, 36, known as Sister Maria Kizito. Both nuns are from the Benedictine convent in Sovu, Butare Prefecture, Rwanda. The fourth convicted, Vincent Ntezimana, 39, is a former professor at Butare University. He was given a 12-year sentence but did not appeal. The trial of the "Butare Four" was described as "historic", because it was the first under a 1993 law in which defendants were judged in Belgium courts for war crimes and human rights violations committed by foreigners outside Belgium. (Source: IRIN)

Sierra Leone

January 5 marked the official end of the disarmament of former fighters under Sierra Leone's disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) programme. Over 45,000 ex-combatants handed in their weapons, about 20,000 more than the state body in charge of the programme had bargained for. The National Committee for Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (NCDDR) had originally budgeted for 26,000 fighters, said its executive secretary, Francis Kai-Kai. It later revised the figure to between 32,000 and 35,000, but the final tally turned out to be over 10,000 higher. The collection of weapons under a community arms collection programme coordinated by the police in conjunction with the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) was still going on, UNAMSIL spokesperson Margaret Novicki said. (Source: BBC)
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